Serious Off-Grid Campsite

Discussion in 'Preparedness & Survival' started by AMproducts, Feb 26, 2014.

  1. AMproducts

    AMproducts
    Socal/Roswell, GA
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    So I'm actually putting some serious time into getting ready for the annual pig hunt this year, and I've got about 8 months before the hunt begins. While this is a rodeo I've been to before, I want to do some serious tuning to try to: speed setup, usually we spend about 6-8 hours of the first day just setting up, that's time that could be spent drinking beer or hunting (can't really drink beer while hunting, mostly because it's pointless)

    I'm going to update this post as I accomplish the task list, if y'all have questions or comments I will respond to them as they come to the best of my ability.

    So here are a few photos from camp 3 years ago (yea, I know the datestamp says 2004, but I didn't set the camera date)

    Here's my tent, this is where I sleep:
    HuntingCamp-MyTent.jpg
    As you can see, I have a catalytic propane heater, power via a 12V battery an an inverter, the thing over on the left is my 12V generator. It looks like I hadn't rolled the carpet out yet, but I had a carpet out front where I could sit in my bathrobe and drink brandy. The tarp was over the top because we had rain, snow, more rain and more snow the entire time. It was about 20-40 deg the whole 10 days.

    As for cooking, we had a decent setup considering the nasty weather:
    HuntingCamp-Cooking.jpg

    It was cold enough outside we didn't really need to worry about refrigeration, would have been nice to have a bit more covered area so you didn't have to stand in the rain while cooking.

    Since this was a primitive campsite (zero amenities) we had to bring in our own bathroom, I know this might not show too much but here was the approximate setup:
    HuntingCamp-ShowerCrapper.jpg
    Behind the "privacy screen" there's one of those shower tents they sell at walmart, it doubled as our porta-potty. The white bag is full of kitty litter you would dump a small cupful over your bizness. Toilet paper would be stuffed in a paper sandwich bag, and burned. This really reduced the volume. Since it was an all male trip, urination could be handled contributing water and nitrates to the environment.

    I have a zodi hot water heater that was used to take hot showers, which was kinda've a nice addition depending on how the day went, at one point I stuck my truck in the creek, and had to spend about a day winching it out with a hi-lift jack. After a long day standing up to my ankles in freezing water, covered in mud and all that a hot shower really took the chill off, and made for a good night's sleep.

    The good, the bad and the ugly...

    The good:

    My Tent - Other than running out of propane half way through the week, worked well. Having to put tarp over the top was kinda've annoying, but it is what it is. I think a cot would give me some more storage space to manage heavy winter clothes, and would also make it warmer as I would be off the floor.

    Cooking area - Really needed more coverage and more storage. Squirrels got to some of the food.

    Water - was brought in, while this is ok having to "go out" for water meant a drive across slippery muddy roads (about 2 miles back to the paved road) that were only passable under good conditions.

    The Bad:

    Bathroom - Having the toilet in the shower (even though you would take the bucket out when you were going to shower) was cumbersome, it made it difficult and the times when two people needed to use the head/shower at the same time was frequent. Also, was difficult to use the bucket after someone took a shower as it was still quite damp (and now cold) inside. The 6V pump that came with the zodi hot water heater sucked, it frequently didn't work (bad wire) and was unable to lift the water more than 2-3 feet flow was anemic.

    The Ugly:

    Trash - As usual, once you take any number of people there will always be a source of trash, since this is ranchland, any garbage left around could easily end up causing problems for the cows (and the rancher). Most of the paper trash was burned in the fire, plastics, human waste, glass and metal were packed out. Having a rubbermaid can would have met our needs for the time we were there.

    Firewood - Because it was so cold we used a good amount of firewood, however, a few of the people who were along for the trip liked the big camp fire, but didn't spend anywhere near enough time gathering it. Also, all we had for cutting wood was an axe (mine) and my bow-saw. None of the firebugs brought anything for collecting firewood. I was rather miffed.

    So things I want to make better for this year:

    Shower - I found another shower/bathroom tent at a yard sale a few weeks ago, wooo separate toilet and shower! Also, I need to build a shower pan, and hook a hose up so the water can drain further away.
    I purchased a more powerful pump, however this pump is more than I need (300GPM) so what I want to do is change the shower head over to a kitchen sprayer and a bypass valve. This way the water that isn't sent into the shower head (the sprayer) is relieved by a pressure relief valve and back into the water supply, thus I won't damage/overload my pump. The Zodi hot water heater also isn't enough to raise water that's 40 deg up to something you would consider bathing in in a single pass. So you need to recirculate it several times, the bypass valve will allow this to happen without other interventions.

    Tent/Shelter - A few years ago I bought a HF trailer on craigslist with the interest in building it into a teardrop style trailer. Want to try to get that done. This will also make it easier to drag all the camp stuff in. I have also been giving some consideration to getting one of those redneck garage type tents to use as a cooking/general space (including butchering). Anyone have any opinions on this?

    Firewood - I got a chainsaw for my birthday, I also got one of those cargo racks that attaches to the trailer hitch. Want to use this so people don't get ideas about putting firewood into my cherokee. I figure I could weld a second trailer hitch receiver on the back of the trailer for extra carry space.

    Power - the batteries/12V generator setup we used worked pretty good, solar wouldn't have worked well, as you can see from the pictures it was pretty grey the whole week. However one of those 12V windmills would have done gangbusters, but these things seem to run $500+ ouch! anyone seen a cheaper solution for this? We don't really need much juice, but being able to recharge radio and flashlight batteries, and run the christmas lights is quite nice. Sometimes we also get kinda carried away screwing around with our HF radios, I know at least one night we were up past 3 playing with PSK31 talking to people in australia on 40m.

    Propane - Just need to make sure the bottles are full.

    Water - The campsite is within 50 yards of the creek, if it could be clarified easily, I could run it through an RO system for drinking/cooking, and could be used with chlorine for sanitary purposes.

    So that's the task I've set for myself, all thoughts or comments are welcome.
     

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  2. Dunerunner

    Dunerunner
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    You will not want for a thing!! Fantastic write-up!! Front Page Stuff right there if Joe want to post up a teaser page. Best of luck with the pig hunt!!

    For Water, Hmmm....

     
  3. AMproducts

    AMproducts
    Socal/Roswell, GA
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    I've considered the berkey's in the past, however, as the guy points out, they're quite expensive, and IMHO bulky for what they are. It's two fancy stainless steel buckets with some filter elements in them.

    I did some calculations last night, and a 9'x9' tarp, in "moderate" rain for 1 hour, will collect about 50 gallons of water. Running it briefly through a simple sand filter, and then a UV sterilizer and it's good to go. I was also doing some digging and the UV sterilizers they sell for fish tanks are capable of 200GPH.

    I got to thinking... 35 gal "trap" drum with a sand/charcoal filter element in it (homebrew) with a 9'x9' tarp to feed it, gravity feeding through a UV sterilizer and I've got water that's as good or better than what I could get out of a tap.

    The nice thing about using rain is it's essentially a zero turbidity source, however it doesn't always rain. There is a spring that feeds the creek that's some distance away from camp, (probably nearly a mile) I had considered running the thin black tubing all the way up there, and then putting a solar powered fountain pump to just constantly feed water down to camp. However that makes my "camp" a lot more permanent than I think it can be at the moment.

    Apparently I can buy 1/4" LDPE tubing for about $100 per 1000ft spool, which is fairly cheap, however that's still $500+ worth of tube. I think if I was going to get this crazy, I would be looking at putting in a septic and a flush toilet.
     
  4. Dunerunner

    Dunerunner
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    Ha! For a campsite that is getting pretty elaborate! :D
     
  5. AMproducts

    AMproducts
    Socal/Roswell, GA
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    Usually we're there for a week+ and thus far we've used the same site 3x. It's also the half-way point between my parent's place, and my place in washington. And it's located on an 1800+ acre family ranch. It's also become my de facto "bug out" location.
     
  6. Joe Link

    Joe Link
    Portland, OR
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    That's awesome man, keep us updated.

    1800+ acres is some serious property!
     
  7. Dunerunner

    Dunerunner
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    I definitely want to know what you finally do!! Maybe with pics, too!! :D
     

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